Fifty Holy Wells, #7
Their was a St Factna near us in Rosscarbery (in Irish meaning wood of the pilgrims) and a well under his name . Lots of men named Factna around here. He was a big deal.
Breastmilk is a very good cure for baby’s eye infections. The immune enhancing components in breastmilk are phenomenal. I read you as saying that it was breastmilk that the Saint bathed their eye in... Is that correct?
My favourite so far!
I love- especially highlight by your concluding paragraph- that humans exist today who are sufficiently devout… persons that when certain things in life happen their source of authority and trust can sufficiently switch… from 2 generations of adverts pushing products to make us hyper-sanitized and especially accelerated societal germaphobia…
Switch… To washing ones eyeballs- of all bodily members!- with standing rainwater in a groove of exposes rock.
This beautiful truth about my human brethren even in these days, settles me a little this morning. Gives me a peace offering in exchange for my own itchy and weary sight from sore eyes.
There it is: a peace of cool rainwater collected in ancient natural stone. Be still and rest a while.
Hoping we may all rest our eyes again. Even now in the midst of blistering storms God bids me, still. Rest child.
With gratitude for this
Thank you. Water, in all its forms, is life-giving and healing.
Simple, humble, rough, windswept, little dome with a makeshift cross - isn't our instinct of dedication a mystery?
My favourite one so far!
Wikipedia is right! I have before me Volume 1 of Charles Plummer's edition of Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, taken from the medieval manuscripts. In the Vita Sancti Mochoemog, the fourth chapter contains the story of St. Fachtnan's eyes. It's a strange tale. Before you read it, it helps to know that St. Mochoemog was the son of Beoanus and Ness, and St. Ita was his mother's sister. Here is my quick translation of it:
At that time holy Fachnanus, the wise and good, chanced to become blind. He saw nothing. He poured out his prayer to the Lord, that He should show him the medicine by which he might get his sight back. Then an angel of the Lord came to him and said, "You cannot get the health of your eyes back unless you wash your eyes and face in milk from the breasts of the wife of Beoanus the craftsman. She has never given birth, you see, but by a gift of God she now has a holy child in her womb." The angel said these things and left. But the saint of God [Fachnanus] was not familiar with Beoanus the craftsman, and he did not know in what part of Ireland he dwelt, and the angel did not tell him. And he said to his followers, "I know what I will do. I will go to the prophetess of God, the blessed Ita, and she will direct me in my search." And he set out to go to the holy Ita, a five days' journey. And when he had entered the territory of Corco Basce, his disciples heard the men in a certain millhouse speaking the name of Beoanus the craftsman. And the asked them whether they knew that craftsman Beoanus or whether they knew where he dwelt. Then one of the men said to them, "You see that woman going up to the house?" They answered, "We see her." He said to them, "She is the wife of Beoanus the craftsman." Then one of them ran after her and said to her, "Wait a little, happy woman, until our holy elder comes, for he wishes to greet you." She stayed where she was and said, "Truly it is a great happiness to me that a servant of Christ wishes to greet me." Now the holy Fachnanus came and asked here whether she was the wife of Beoanus the craftsman. She answered in accustomed way, modestly and chastely, "I am, sir." The saint said, "Are you with child?" She said to him, "God in his kindness has left me barren." Then the saint introduced himself by name and told her what had happened to him. The blessed woman said to him, "Sir, my breasts do not yet give milk." The saint said, "In the name of the Holy Trinity, by the holiness of your offspring, milk them, and surely they will give milk." She did according to the word of the man of God, and her breasts poured forth milk abundantly. So the saint washed his eyes with milk from the breasts of blessed Ness, the wife of Beoanus the craftsman, and there on the spot he got his sight back. And he saw sky and earth clearly and gave thanks to God, and he blessed that woman and her unborn child. And through the same woman Ness he commended his prayers and blessings to the holy Ita, and rejoicing in Christ, he went back with his followers to his monastery.
Here's the passage as found in Plummer, which I'm typing in here for anyone who prefers to read it in Latin (be forewarned, there is a lot of non-standard spelling):
Tunc temporis sanctus Fachnanus sapiens et probus aliquo eventu factus est cecus, et nichil videbat. Ipse sanctus...fudit ad Dominum orationem, ut ostenderet sibi medicinam qua lumen oculorum reciperet suorum. Deinde angelus Domini venit ad eum, dicens: 'Non poteris sanitatem oculorum invenire tuorum, nisi oculos et faciem tuam laveris lacte uberum uxoris Beoani artificis. Que enim numquam peperit, set dono Dei modo sanctum habet in utero conceptum.' Et haec angelus dicens, abscessit. Sanctus autem Dei non cognoscebat Beoanum artificem, et nesciebat in qua regione in Hybernia ille habitabat; et non indicauit ei angelus. Et ait ad suos sanctus: 'Scio quid faciam. Ibo ad Dei prophetissam, beatam Ytam; et ipsa mihi indicabit questionem meam.' Et cum intrasset plebem Corco Basce, audierunt discipuli eius homines in quodam molendino Beoanum nominantes artificem. Et ipsi eos interrogauerunt, si cognoscerent illum Beoanum artificem, vel si scirent ubi ipse habitabat. Tunc vnus illorum ait eis: 'Videtis illam mulierem ad uillam euntem?' Respondentibus illis: 'Videmus;' ait eis: 'Ipsa est Beoani uxor artificis.' Currit tunc illorum vnus post illam, dicens ei: 'Expecta, felix femina, paulisper, donec sanctus senior noster veniat, qui te vult salutare.' Illa stetit in loco, dicens: 'Vere magna est mihi felicitas, quod vvlt me Christi famulus salutare.' Sanctus iam ueniens Fachnanus interrogauit illam, si ipsa Beoani artificis vxor esset. Illa respondit suo more sobrie et pudice: 'Ego sum, domine.' Sanctus ait: 'Habesne in vtero conceptum?' Ait ei: 'Deus mihi sua bonitate sterili concessit habere.' Tunc sanctus, indicans se ipsum suo nomine, eit narrauit que sibi acciderant. Beata femina ait ei: 'Domine, ubera mea non dant adhuc lac.' Sanctus ad eam inqui: 'In nomine sancte Trinitatis per tui sanctitatem partus, mulge ea, et pro re certa lac dabunt.' Illa agens iuxta viri Dei uerbum, sua ubera ubertim lac fuderunt. Lauans igitur lacte uberum beate Nesse sanctus uxoris Beoani artificis oculos suos, ibi ilico lumen recepit suum. Et videns lucide 'celum' et terram, gratias egit Deo suo; et benedixit illam femminam et suum conceptum.
Beautiful well. Thank you for presenting it. Lots of what has already been said here echoes with me.
Very interesting Paul thank you
Hi Paul. I'm posting this question about Fr. Cassian Sibley in hopes you might have a minute to respond. I'm enjoying your talks at the FPR, and I'm curious if you can give me the source for your quote from Fr. Sibley, the one about "What we will not preserve, we cannot share." I've looked all over but can't find books by the man. Would love to read more if he's publishing. THANKS.
Back to the Basics:
Why do you suppose this particular pool of rainwater in rock, is a site for a Holy Well?
I cannot quite figure the dimensions of this pool.
I see weather warn rock smoothed out across the landscape, pictured. Surely within 100 kilometers, 300 kilometers radius there are other similar standing pools?
Why is this the site of a holy well?